When to reef a sailboat

Posted by Director of Education on December 7, 2011 under Crew, Skipper, Storm Tactics | Comments are off for this article

While all sailboat designs are different and will sail optimally at different heel angles and reef points, there are a few generalities that we’ll cover in this sailing blog.

General reefing point number 1 through infinity: Don’t scare the beegeebees out of those on board by heeling the boat over too much. While you may be singing and enjoying yourself, others may be frozen solid.

One time sailing off Corsica (lovely sailing destination btw) we encountered a 40 knot Mistral breeze. We were sailing a Beneteau 50 and what a delight it was. The waves were about 8 feet and consistently washing over the deck. It was a beautiful day and we all had a blast – EXCEPT one person on board who had not been sailing much before. When we reached the marina in Bonifacio he jumped off the sailboat and lay flat on the dock kissing the dock boards. I learned that he had been so terrified that he could not speak and was looking between each wave where to jump clear of the boat it in case we went over. Lesson learned for me! That’s not a good thing to do to your guests and not a good way to keep the sport of sailing growing.

Funny as it is (sort of), now I make sure that everyone new on the boat knows to look first into my face when they start to get scared. I tell them that if I’m smiling then it’s all ok and that they are only allowed to get scarred if they see worry and fear on my face. Now the thing to do is to not show fear through facial expressions or through my voice. This keeps the crew thinking straight and following instructions instead of worrying about jumping clear of the boat.

Ok back on topic to heel angle and reefing. We’ll cover non-spinnaker/genaker operations here because broaching (getting knocked down) with those sails is a different topic.

Certainly in light winds, some heel angle will ensure your sails have some airfoil shape to them so position your crew to leeward to create at least about 5 degrees of heel angle. As the winds pick up you can begin to move your self moving ballast (crew) to the windward side to balance the wind force aloft in the sails.

In general, for most cruising sailboats, once you reach about 25 degrees or so the sailboat hull design and sail rig design will begin to reduce the ability of the boat to increase in speed in an efficient manner. OK wow that’s a very general statement but it’s a statement that will allow you to watch, learn and experiment with your own particular boat.

A weighed keelboat typically is not in danger of capsizing for three main reasons:

  1. As the boat heels over the distance aloft to the center of pressure of the wind is lowered and thus the heeling moment is reduced. As an example, lets say the boat leaned all the way over. This heeling moment then is reduced to zero. So theoretically the wind can’t heel you all the way over anyway.
  2. As the boat heels over the vertical area of the sails presented to the wind is reduced which reduces the actual heeling force.
  3. As the boat heels over the weighted keel is lifted to windward thus creating a righting moment. The more the keel is lifted to windward the more the righting moment.
Heeling Moment vs Righting Moment

Heeling Moment vs Righting Moment

From above then, the more the boat heels over, the less the “heeling” moment from the sails and the more the “righting” moment from the keel. Or again in very not tech speak: in a full laydown situation there is no more tipping over force left and only straightening up force remaining. It might not feel like that when your hanging onto the rails for dear life but it’s pretty much the reality of the nature of forces and moments.

What is “moment”? Moment is the ability to use a screw driver to open a paint can. Imagine a very stubborn paint can and a very short screw driver. Now use a longer screw driver you can imagine the force needed becomes much less. That’s moment. It’s not the force that opens the can but the moment. Moment is mathematically force x distance. In the same manner it’s not the force that heels the sailboat over it’s the height of the wind times the force of the wind.

Wind force on sails

Wind force on sails

Mathematically, when you apply wind pressure to a triangle (sail) the center of force can be equated to be at the position of 1/3rd of the way up the triangle/sail.

Here’s a few more equations. Lets assume a right angle triangle.

  • Force = pressure x sail area presented vertically to the wind = pressure x foot length x sail height x (cosine (heel angle))/2
  • Pressure = ½ (density of air) x (wind velocity)Squared
  • Height of force above the sail foot = 1/3 rig height * cosine (heel angle)
  • Moment = force x height

Or to wrap it up into easy terms:

Moment is proportional to the following:

  • wind velocity squared
  • the cosine of the heel angle squared
  • the rig height
  • the foot length.

In practical terms if the heel angle is 30 degrees the heeling moment is reduced to 75% or if the heel angle is 90 degrees (laying down flat) the heeling moment is zero zip nada.

Also note that in the above, if you go from 5 knots to 20 knots the heeling moment goes up 16 times. In most sailboats you should be looking at reefing anywhere from 12-15 knots. The other thought process to use is when you are starting to think about reefing, you probably should have reefed ½ an hour ago.

What effectively is reefing the sails doing? Well, it’s just reducing the sail area and the height of the position that the wind force acts upon the sails. As an example if the sail was reefed down 15% of its height the area is reduced by 0.85 squared = to 72% of it’s original but the heeling moment is reduced even further because the center of pressure on the sail is lowered . IE reefing has a cubic effect on reducing the heeling moment. Wow that’s pretty enlightening.

Another consideration regarding reefing and heeling is that the more you heel over the less effective is the rudder because you’ve reduced the vertical presentation of the rudder to the horizontally flowing water. IE at a 45 degree heel, you’ve lost 30% of your rudder area which gives you less ability to handle the weather helm from a gust. This can put you into a dangerous rounding up position. And believe me rounding up can be VERY dangerous. One time when sailing along I saw two things about to happen – a gust was on its way across the water towards us and a boat was heading towards us to pass to windward. A rounding up in this gust would drive us right into the oncoming boat. I reached over and let out the mainsheet. This twisted out the top of the sail and effectively lowered the heeling moment but keeping the bottom of the sail powered. The gust passed with out a round up. Just think what if I’d been below and a rookie was helming the boat? No, don’t think!

A sailboat Captain friend of mine who would sail regularly from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean on a 150 fter would always say, if you’re thinking about reefing, you should have yesterday. If you’re thinking about shaking out the reef, wait until tomorrow.

Heeling Over

Heeling Over

So when should you reef?

  1. So as you’re not scaring the crew
  2. At about 25 degrees of heel angle
  3. At about 12-15 knots of breeze

If you enjoyed this sailing article blog, consider taking the NauticEd Skipper and Sail Trim sailing courses. NauticEd also provides a free sailing course describing the basics of sail trim.

This article was written by Grant Headifen, Director of Education for NauticEd Online Sailing School. NauticEd provides basic to advanced multimedia online sailing courses and a globally accepted sailing certification by most all yacht charter companies.


How to dock a sailboat in heavy wind

Posted by Director of Education on October 31, 2011 under Bareboat Charter, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Skipper, Storm Tactics | Comments are off for this article

Docking a boat on to an end-tie or tee head with a strong wind blowing you off requires some knowledge on how to do it and it’s one of those things that you SHOULD practice for WHEN the time comes.

Trying to just sidle up along side like you might do in a no wind condition or where wind is blowing you on to the dock is just not going to work.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways of doing it.

(1)  Motoring forward up to the tee head directly into the wind.

Have dock lines prepared and cleated to the forward and aft dock side of the boat.

NOTE: Make sure that the dock lines are run outwards underneath the life lines first then back onboard over the top of the line lines. This ensures that when the line is deployed, it will be clear of the life lines. Since this is usually a crew member doing this, it pays to physically show the crew member when you are out away from the marina if you’re not sure they will do it correctly. Running them inboard and over the lifelines can create a huge havoc at the wrong and crucial time.

Approach the tee head near perpendicular but at an angle so that it makes it as simple as possible for the crew member to step off the boat as far forward as possible. As you reach the tee head the crew member will have to step off the boat and onto the dock. This requires a little dexterity on the crew member’s behalf and good throttle work on your behalf to not hit the dock yet get the crew member close enough with out jumping. Since you’re headed directly almost into wind, you’ll have afforded some time with the bow at the dock so that the crew member can take their time carefully stepping off the boat and onto the dock.

The crew member now cleats the dock line to the dock cleat in the direction of where the aft of the boat will sit using about ¼ of the boat length of line between the two cleats.

Now comes your part. Turn the wheel all the way to the stops to the non-dockside side of the boat (tiller to dockside side) and engage forward gear. This creates a sideways force on the rudder and will push the stern of the boat to the dock. Adjust the throttle to over come the windage force on the boat.






(2)  Motoring in reverse up to the tee head directly into the wind.

This method works especially well when the boat has a swim platform and walk through transom.

As above, have dock lines prepared. Then back up to the tee head.

NOTE: You’ll learn in the NauticEd Maneuvering a Sailboat Under Power online sailing course that a boat’s stern facing the wind is an extremely stable position and you will not get bullied around by the wind. You’ll also learn that backing into the wind is extremely easy. If you haven’t already, take the NauticEd Maneuvering a Sailboat Under Power online sailing course.

The crew member steps off the boat holding the aft dock line when the stern is close enough and cleats the dock line to a dock cleat that lies in a direction more aft of the boat in its final resting position.  Again about ¼ of the boat length of dock line should be allowed between the aft cleat and dock cleat.

Turn the wheel all the way to the stops towards the dock (tiller pointing away) and engage forward.  This will swing the bow of the boat in towards the dock against the wind. Another crew member can toss the forward dock line to the crew member on the dock to aid. Or if the 1st crew member is able they should take a long forward dock line with them when they stepped off the boat originally.






Either of these methods can get you docked safely. And, practiced, a  day skipper could do all the above solo.

Practice both of these a few times and when the real moment comes, you’ll be looking like a pro. Rather than a…

This docking a sailing boat tip was written by Grant Headifen , Director of NauticEd. NauticEd offers an excellent Maneuvering a Sailboat Under Power online sailing course as well as many courses on how to sail a boat.


Twist in the mainsail

Posted by Director of Education on September 14, 2011 under Crew, Skipper, Storm Tactics | Comments are off for this article

Here is a question from a student regarding letting out the main traveller in a gust.

I referred them to this post


which talks about moving the traveller upwind and letting out onthe mainsheet to increase twist at the top of the sail and thus reducing the forces aloft.


Greetings from Northern Michigan and the Great Lakes-
I have enrolled in your Catamaran Sailing Confidence Course in preparation for my first bareboat charter in the BVI’s on a 47ft Cat. In the section on sailing you state:
When sailing closed hauled on a catamaran in heavier air, move the traveler up wind (on the opposite side of the sail) and let off on the main sheet. This will allow the boom to rise a little and “twist out” the top of the sail. Twisting the sail allows you to let some of the top part of the sail “deflate” in case of slightly stronger winds. In light air, make sure that the top of the mainsail is not “loosing air” meaning, keep the traveler close to the center and tighten the mainsheet pretty good to make sure the main cannot open up at the top.

I am a crew on a 26ft monohull that races and when trying to go upwind we move the traveler to a windward position and try to keep the boom centered with the mainsheet (we also tension the outhaul and backstay). During heavy or gusty winds when weather helm and heel require us to depower the sails we will move the traveler down to center or leeward (rather than simply letting out the mainsheet and having the main luff) and this serves to “spill some air” and depower the mainsail. It certainly has worked to decrease the heel of the boat. This would be followed by reefing as winds increase.

So I have learned that in a close haul to move the traveler down to depower, but your statement is to move it upwind and I am therefore confused. What am I missing?

Thanks for your wisdom-



Yacht Club Intelligence: NauticEd Sailing School Press Release

Posted by Director of Education on May 15, 2011 under Bareboat Charter, Celestial Navigation, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper, Storm Tactics, weather | Be the First to Comment

Imagine if you could just hang out at the yacht club every day – how much you’d learn from everyone. That’d be cool. Well … now you can!

It’s a very cool piece of technology we just installed on the NauticEd site. It’s called DisQus and the concept is based on crowd intelligence. It shows how the power of the Internet can beat out a boring ol’ book. Thousands of websites have already introduced it and it’s ideally suited for you and NauticEd.

On every page through out all of the NauticEd sailing courses you can now discuss (Disqus) the topic at hand and read what others are saying about the topic.  For example, lets say you know a few things about how to dock a boat using spring lines but are a bit confused about backing into a slip. Right in the course you can add your springing off knowledge and ask all other students their opinions on reversing. When any one comments and adds to those comments you’ll be sent an email (if you want). You can add pictures and diagrams if you want. Our part is to use the crowd intelligence to improve our sailing course material for everyone.

You can even invite facebook friends to join in on the conversation and help out.

Crowd-Intelligence with NauticEd Sailing School

Crowd-Intelligence with DisQus and NauticEd Sailing School

How cool is this? Now you’re tapping into the knowledge of thousands of other NauticEd students – wow that’s a big yacht club with a lot of combined experience. You’re not on your own any more. It’s not just us and our authors pontificating about sailing – it’s a real open discussion and conversation in real time.

But like any party or social – you can’t just stuff your mouth with cake and listen – you’ve got to add your two cents. And you can’t be rude because people are watching and the bouncers will bounce you out. So come on join in – ask questions and post your knowledge.

To kick off, I’ve gone in and asked a few questions and posted a few comments in each course topic. I invite you to join me and start new conversations. Like who gives way – the paddle board or the sailboat? Do you know the answer?

Login and give us your opinion to the Rules of the Nautical Road topic embedded in our Rules course.

And to celebrate the launch of crowd intelligence via DisQus, we’ll award a free sailing course of choice to a student randomly picked from everyone who participates in the conversations over the next week (through May 25th) . Hint, the more you talk the more we’ll notice.

We’ll see you on NauticEd.



Sailing Around the world in… I don’t know … days

Posted by Grant Headifen on February 2, 2011 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Skipper, Storm Tactics, weather | Be the First to Comment

Last weekend we met up with our friends Chris and Christine Ellsay in Nelson New Zealand. Chris and Chris, with their three kids aged 10, 8 and 6 are sailing around the world and it was refreshing to hear them say – “I don’t know how long we’ll take”. They’re 3 years into it and have made it from the great lakes in Eastern Canada to New Zealand so far. The route has been via the Caribbean, Venezuela, Columbia, Panama, Galapagos Islands, Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia, Tonga and now Kiwiland. (We missed them by a week when we were in Tonga with the NauticEd Graduation Trip in September last year.)

Holding out in New Zealand for the summer while the tropical cyclones pass overhead in the pacific islands, they say they’re returning to the Pacific, starting with Fiji in Late April 2011. Then they’ll decide if to hang another year in the pacific or head off to the top of Ausy through the Indian ocean in 2011 or 2012.

I interviewed Chris and Chris (and the kids) on their experience with a catamaran rather than a monohull for sailing around the world. Their opinion after 10,000 miles is that they would not have done it any other way. The comfort and space was the resounding feedback.

Here’s a short video introducing Stray Kitty a World Cruising Life Style, and Abel Tasman National Park In New Zealand.


Here’s a few pics of Stray Kitty, their 42 foot PDQ Antares 2002 Catamaran.

Stray Kitty in the Nelson Marina

Stray Kitty in the Nelson Marina

The foredeck at anchor is a great place for a few gins after a hard day sail.

Foredeck of Stray Kitty 42 ft Catamaran

Foredeck of Stray Kitty 42 ft Catamaran

The Kids are being home schooled by Christine and by the sounds of it – they were way ahead of where they should be – good job Christine!

Kids sailing around the world - pretty cool kids

Kids sailing around the world - pretty cool kids

These three kids (my one is the 2 1/2 year old 2nd to right ) are pretty amazing – they fear nothing, do their school work, do as they are told, release the lines on command, know which electrical switches to flick on at the right time – in fact I think they’d make it back to land if mum and dad fell overboard. They’re pretty cool kids and are a delight to spend time with.

Plenty of room inside the catamaran for school work

Plenty of room inside the catamaran for school work

The Catamaran has heaps of room inside and it’s easy for the kids to do their school work underway because the boat stays flat when sailing.

Stray Kitty is sailing the traditional route around the world following the trade winds. Chris reported that much of their sailing has been downwind and so here he is showing me his much used bowsprit for flying their Gennaker. Oh and by the way – notice the incredible bay that we stayed overnight in – in the back ground in Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island.

The Catamaran Bowsprit

The Catamaran Bowsprit

There is plenty of safety gear on board and Chris and Chris are doing it right. Notice all the the MOB gear at the stern of the boat ready to be instantly deployed should anyone go overboard.

The boat has on-board a generator, two alternators and solar panels for powering all the electrical requirements of the boat. The total solar production capability is about 500 watts. Chris says for every thing to maintain with out the use of the generator or alternators – he’d like to have about 1000 watts of solar capacity so they do have to kick on the generator every now and then.

Solar Panels on the hardtop of Stray Kitty

Solar Panels on the hardtop of Stray Kitty

Chris also discussed with me his Internet connections via SSB and his weather information gathering capability. Here he has downloaded a GRIB which is a map forecast of the sailing area we were in. The expected forecast was for 35 knots and they got it right. Out sailing we saw it peak to 36 knots on the wind meter. Made for some fun sailing.

Downloading the Weather GRIB

Downloading the Weather GRIB

And the kids loved the bumpy ride that day as you can see here.

High waves making the trampoline a fun place to be

High waves making the trampoline a fun place to be

And here’s us busting through the 1-2 meter swell.

Crashing through the waves sailing the catamaran

Crashing through the waves sailing the catamaran

Over the 4 days we spent with these true ocean sailors, we had a blast (beyond the 36 knotter). We scored some amazing shots of the Able Tasman National park in New Zealand which will be on the next blog. Stray Kitty will be making the passage up to Auckland via the east coast in a few days but first they’ll have to wait for right weather conditions to cross one of the world’s renown rough water ways, the Cook Straight which lies between the North and South Islands. High winds and current can make this one a bit tricky.

We’re pretty jealous of Stray Kitty. One of Chris’ sayings over the weekend was the “we regret in life more things that we don’t do than what we actually do” and this was one of the big reasons they sold their business and set out across the oceans and wow they had some good stories to match.

If you’re thinking about sailing around the world then we’d certainly recommend our more serious NauticEd sailing school sailing lessons associated with the Captain’s Rank, those are Safety at Sea, Storm Tactics, Weather, Sail Trim as well as – if you think a Catamaran might be the way to go – take the Catamaran Sailing Confidence Clinic.

It was great to see this family making fun light work of sailing around the world. It’s certainly got  me thinking – any one else?

Torrent Bay - Abel Tasman National Park New Zealand

Torrent Bay - Abel Tasman National Park New Zealand

Press Release – NauticEd Releases Captain’s Rank

Posted by Grant Headifen on November 24, 2010 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper, Storm Tactics, weather | Comments are off for this article

Today, NauticEd Online Sailing School announced its release of the NauticEd Captain’s Rank. This coincides with the posting of the NauticEd Safety at Sea Clinic which is the final required course to attain the Sailing Certification Rank. The NauticEd Captain’s Rank focuses entirely on sailboat operations both near shore and offshore and is directed specifically towards the recreational sailboater.

Until now, many recreational sailboaters have been gaining a commercial boating license to attain the educational equivalence of Captain but with out the intention of operating commercially. Now with NauticEd, students can gain a Captain’s Sailing Certification with out jumping through the significant hoops associated with a commercial operator’s license.

This is very exciting for the sailing industry says Grant Headifen, Educational Director for NauticEd. ‘It means that we can have more educated boaters on the water and the investment cost in the education is well within reach of every sailboater. We’ve lowered the barriers and made the experience fun and interactive with multimedia learning. Now, if anyone wants to learn to sail, gain a sailing certification or just increase their sailing education, doing it online makes it more accessible and thus more likely to be done”. The Educational investment in the Captain’s Rank is less than $US300.

Headifen estimates it will take the average student 60 hours of study over time to complete the theory courses and online tests associated with the NauticEd Captain’s Rank. The NauticEd online Courses required to gain the rank cover a wide breadth of topics listed as follows:

  • Skipper
  • Maneuvering Under Power
  • Coastal Navigation
  • Bareboat Charter
  • Sail Trim
  • Storm Tactics
  • Weather
  • Safety at Sea
Captain's Rank bundle of Sailing Courses

Captain's Rank bundle of Sailing Courses

In addition, a NauticEd Captain must have logged a minimum amount of real sea time which is denoted by a level associated with the Rank as follows:

  • Captain Level III –  50 days of sea time;
  • Captain Level IV – 100 days of sea time
  • Captain Level V –  200 days of sea time.

Time is logged on NauticEd’s online sailing logbook and can be accessed via iPhone and Android apps or on an internet connected computer.

NauticEd which stands for Nautic Education offers 2 lower level Sailing Certifications; Skipper and Bareboat Charter Master. These are achieved by passing fewer courses than listed above. NauticEd also offers other online courses such as a Catamaran Sailing Confidence, Celestial Navigation, and a Crew Course.

To learn more sailing tips from NauticEd Sailing School visit our website.

Save Big on NauticEd Courses and Clinics

Posted by Grant Headifen on October 21, 2010 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper, Storm Tactics, weather | Be the First to Comment

Hooowa – said Al Pacino in the movie Sent of a Woman.

Skipper Sailing Course Bundle

Skipper Sailing Course Bundle

We recently launched a new Sailing Courses and Clincs Page. The first thing you’ll notice is that we have Bundled the Courses and Clinics into their respective Ranks. So now you can buy the Skipper Bundle which contains the

  • Skipper Course
  • Maneuvering Under Power Clinic

And the Bareboat Charter Master Bundle which contains the

  • Skipper Course
  • Maneuvering Under Power Clinic
  • Coastal Navigation Clinic
  • Bareboat Charter Clinic

The investment in the Sailing Lesson bundles now saves you a ton. The Skipper Bundle comes in at $95 and the Bareboat Charter Master Bundle comes in at $161. That is a significant savings over buying eaah sailing course A La Carte.

Bareboat Charter Master Bundle

Bareboat Charter Master Bundle

We’re also finishing up the Safety at Sea Clinic now and so that will make the final Captain Bundle ready. This will contain

  • Skipper Course
  • Maneuvering Under Power Clinic
  • Coastal Navigation Clinic
  • Bareboat Charter Clinic
  • Sail Trim
  • Weather
  • Storm Tactics
  • Safety at Sea

The investment in the Captain Bundle will be $293.

AND – we did something that is really cool – we wrote the software so that you automatically get credit for sailing courses and clinics that you have already purchased. So the smart ones will figure out now how to beat the system (and we’re ok with that) that you can start getting the Clinics for $33 instead of $39.

Visit the new NauticEd Sailing Courses and Clinics page now and learn how you can get your yacht license.


Types of Anchors and bottom types that they are best suited.

Posted by Grant Headifen on July 6, 2010 under Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper, Storm Tactics | Be the First to Comment

As you learn to sail, you should be also learning about anchoring. There is more to tossing the hook so to speak.

After doing some research on the internet and looking at some of the tests performed on holding power, I’ve made a quick summary of what I learned.

Anchor types are selected based on the bottom conditions. These are rock, mud, clay, sand, grass, coral and shoal.

Charts will usually tell you what the bottom conditions are, as will local sailors from whom you should never be afraid to ask.

The following shows the type of anchor and the associated bottom that the anchor is best suited for.

Danforth: Works best in sand and mud

Danforth Anchor

Danforth Anchor

Hinged Plough CQR: Works Best in sand, rock and mud.

Hinged Plough CQR Anchor

Hinged Plough CQR Anchor

Non Hinged Plough Delta Anchor: Works best in sand rock clay and mud.

Delta plough anchor

Delta plough anchor

Non Hinged Plough Roll bar anchor: Best for all types of bottoms – sand, rock, mud,clay, grass

Rollbar plough anchor

Rollbar plough anchor

Bruce Anchor: Best for sand, rock, mud.

Bruce anchor

Bruce anchor

The Roll Bar Plough type anchor is a new type of anchor and therefore is not that common yet. However, tests show that it is certainly one of the winners when it comes to selecting an anchor.

Day 4 of Introduction to NauticEd

Posted by Grant Headifen on May 15, 2010 under About NauticEd, Bareboat Charter, Celestial Navigation, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Maneuvering Under Power, Rules of Right of Way, Skipper, Storm Tactics, weather | Be the First to Comment

This is day 4 of 6 in your introduction to NauticEd International Sailing School. Watch the video and/or read the text below.

Today we’ll help you discover which courses are best suited for you personally.

We developed a series of 11 quick questions that will easily eliminate any confusion about which course you should be taking for your own personal sailing education.

Run the personal course recommendation tool now. You’ll save money by investing in only the courses right for you. When you login just look for “Recommended” under your Sailing Curriculum Marco tab

Getting Started with Multimedia Training

The first courses we believe that all sailors should complete no matter what their experience level is the FREE NauticEd Rules of the Nautical Road and the FREE Basic Sail Trim Course. These courses are already loaded into your curriculum.

If you’re an experienced sailor you’ll see the value in a quick refresher course. If you’re new to sailing then you’ll learn some VITAL nautical rules and sail trim knowledge.

In either case, these courses are free and thus you’ll be able to see how taking a NauticEd clinic and the associated test will work. Both are a highly graphical and fun 20 minute courses.

Complete your Navigation Rules Clinic and the Basic Sail Trim Courses now!

Then Set yourself up for a Proper Sailing Certification

If our free courses gained your confidence in us, then you may have already invested in either the full Skipper, Bareboat Charter Master or Captain’s bundle of courses. Most people do this eventually because it saves money and sets them on the right track to a proper Sailing Certification recognized by the world’s largest yacht charter companies. When you invest in a bundle you’re automatically given appropriate financial credit for any courses you’ve already taken.

Engaging in eLearning Process

As you go through the courses we really encourage you to engage in our nano-forum technology called SeaTalks. If you’re in the course and slightly confused on something, got a question or comment then post it on that specific page’s SeaTalks Nano-forum. You’ll see it at the top right of every page in the course. The community at large will answer and help you out. When in there, if you can answer someone else’s question go ahead. By fully engaging, you will become a better sailor.

Watch the video and learn more about SeaTalks Nano-Forums here.

Ranks and Courses

In email #2 we discussed the ranks Crew, Skipper, Bareboat Charter Master and Captain. Here’s how you work through these Ranks:

Right Now Your Rank is: [Database!Rank] – [Database!Level]

Gaining the Qualified Crew Rank


You are awarded the Qualified Crew Rank when you pass either the Skipper Course or the Qualified Crew Member Course and are level I experience qualified.

QUALIFIED CREW MEMBER COURSE: Learn to sail and contribute as a crew member on a modern cruising sailboat. Learn the lines, sailing terminology, sail trim and rules of the road. Estimated time: 7 hours total. Investment: $37.50.

Gaining the Skipper Rank
Skipper Card

Skipper Card

In addition to the two courses below, you must be at least Level I experience qualified.

The SKIPPER SAILING COURSE is a beginner to intermediate sailing course. It is a prerequisite to any certification and covers the fundamentals that every one must know. The total time needed to complete this course will be about 20 hours. Investment $67.00

The MANEUVERING UNDER POWER CLINIC: This is our most popular course. An absolutely essential maneuvering and docking course that will save you thousands in dents, bumps and scratches at the marina. Want to dock your boat like a pro every time? Want to impress? Take the most popular NauticEd Sailing School Course now. Estimated time: 3 hours total. Investment: $39.

The investment in the Skipper Bundle of courses is $95 instead of $106.50 a la carte.

Gaining the Bareboat Charter Master Rank
Bareboat Charter Master

Bareboat Charter Master Card

In addition to the Skipper Rank and the three courses below, you must be at least Level III experience qualified.

: Taking a sailing vacation? All hands on deck – this is the yacht charter sailing course for you and ALL of your crew. Make your charter sailing trip more enjoyable by getting ALL the bareboat charter tips you’ll need. Estimated time: 5 hours total. Investment: $39.

: Learn to navigate your sailboat. If you plan on sailing away from your home base or are taking a sailing vacation, you need this course. NauticEd Sailing School makes navigating a sailboat – a breeze. Estimated time: 10 hours total. Investment: $39.

: This Electronic Navigation course is the world’s only true interactive course where you learn all the instruments you might have onboard a sailboat. The exercises are designed so that you actually interact with a simulated GPS chart plotter and get inside the workings to REALLY understand how to maximize the information being presented to you. With ease, you’ll implement navigation techniques like setting your autopilot to track a waypoint or tack perfectly on a layline. Estimated time: 6 hours total. Investment: $25 or FREE when you invest in the BBCM bundle.

: Whether you are sailing your own vessel in coastal waters or chartering in the Caribbean or beyond, knowing how to safely and effectively anchor is one of the most essential and liberating skills you can have. Knowing about anchors, rodes, anchorages and anchoring techniques is a prerequisite for enjoying an evening in a magically beautiful setting as well as getting a good night’s sleep while swinging from the hook. The goal of this course is to either help you get more confident using the gear you have, or to help you select new gear and understand how to deploy it correctly.  We discuss available equipment and its performance. Estimated time: 4 hours. Investment: $17

The investment in the  Bareboat Charter Master Bundle of courses is $175 instead of $226.50 a la carte

Gaining the Captain’s Rank
Captain Card

Captain Card

In addition to the BBCM Rank and the four courses below, you must be at least Level III experience qualified.

: If you’re a real sailor then you need to understand and read the weather. It’s as simple as that! Written by the professionals at Clear Point Weather, this is the best weather sailing course available. Estimated time: 7 hours total. Investment: $39.

: Learn the true art and finesse of trimming the sails. When to adjust the fairleads, the traveler, the downhaul, the outhaul, the Cunningham, the boom vang. When leaning to sail properly, you should know what all these fine adjustments do. Estimated time: 4 hours total. Investment: $39.

: Even when day sailing, a storm can be upon us in minutes. Are you prepared with the knowledge now? This storm tactics sailing course will teach the essentials to keep you and your crew alive. Estimated time: 4 hours total. Investment: $39.

: Most mariners don’t realize that we never even hear about the many crews aboard vessels that had their share of problems offshore. Situations were evaluated, repairs were completed, and they made landfall quietly and efficiently – this done as a normal course of passagemaking. These able sailors had the skills, materials, and a plan to cope – having merely to carry out the work to get back on course. They understand that overcoming obstacles is a normal part of blue water sailing. Estimated time: 14 hours total. Investment: $39.

The investment in the Captain Bundle of courses is $307 instead of $357.50 a la carte.

In addition to the above courses and clinics, we offer the following:

CATAMARAN SAILING CONFIDENCE CLINIC: Converting over to a catamaran or chartering a catamaran for the first/second time? Learn the essential differences between sailing a monohull and a catamaran. This clinic will give you the confidence. It includes an interactive experiential online game to practice maneuvering in a marina. Estimated time: 3 hours total. Investment: $39.

: If you’re in any way intrigued with Celestial Navigation, this is the best and simplest celestial sailing course available. You’ll be able to do an actual noon shot and determine your position. Estimated time: 5 hours total. Investment: $39.

Tomorrow we’ll discuss practical sailing schools and how you can get a verified proficiency stamp added to your sailing certificate.

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Make sure you run the personal course recommendation tool now.
Until tomorrow – fair winds,

Grant Headifen
Director of Education

Life Saving Tip for downwind sailing

Posted by Grant Headifen on May 10, 2010 under Bareboat Charter, Coastal Navigation, Crew, Skipper, Storm Tactics | Be the First to Comment

Some tips are long and some are short – This short one will save your life or one of your crew.

As you know – sailing downwind has the dangerous potential of the accidental gybe. This can be quite a common occurrence if you have an inexperienced crew at the helm or perhaps with a major wind shift when sailing close to an island and … well… with the added distractions of being on a sailing vacation, an accidental gybe is probably going to happen.

Please teach your crew to only walk to the front of the boat on the boom side of the boat when sailing down wind. In this manner, the boom is only traveling at a bruising 20 miles per hour when slamming across instead of the fatal 100 miles per hour when it reaches the other side.

Could be dangerous

Could be dangerous

It’s particularly important to emphasize this when heading out on a bareboat charter vacation where you’re often taking along some land lubbers. So, NauticEd has put together a quick briefing list for the crew prior to departure which includes tips like this.

Download the PDF at the bottom of the page at http://www.nauticed.org/courses/view/bareboat-charter